Is organic hazelnut cultivation profitable?
Abstract: In order to analyze the economic results of hazelnut cultivation in an organic regime, the two methods of production commonly used in the Monti Cimini hazelnut district (central Italy) were used. These systems of production, due to the different levels of input that they require, can be considered to be “extensive” and “intensive”. Costs and productive values were evaluated for the two techniques and, afterwards, a comparison with conventional management was carried out, referring to a standard method of production which allows average yields of 2.7t/ha to be achieved. The examination of the costs of production for these systems highlighted a substantial homogeneity in variable costs, although remarkable variations were observed in the different categories (raw materials, mechanization, work). On the contrary, the produce which can be sold varies greatly according to the different orchard management forms. A comparison of gross margins showed that the results achieved by conventional management are intermediate between those of the two organic techniques. This result justifies the contrasting opinions of hazelnut producers on the relative convenience of the two management forms. The only certainty is that, because of public aid, organic hazelnut production is able to guarantee better economic results.